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10-minute treatment could restore smell in long COVID patients

10-minute treatment could restore smell in long COVID patients

CHICAGO — A brand new 10-minute therapy can doubtlessly restore the sense of scent in sufferers affected by long-term olfactory dysfunction prevalent within the aftermath of COVID-19.

Whereas nearly all of COVID-19 sufferers ultimately regain their sense of scent, a subset with lengthy COVID expertise persistent signs for an prolonged interval following the preliminary an infection. This sensory loss, often known as parosmia, can detrimentally have an effect on their urge for food and total life high quality.

“Submit-COVID parosmia is frequent and more and more acknowledged. Sufferers can develop a distaste for meals and drinks they used to take pleasure in,”  says Professor Adam Zoga, the lead writer, in a media release. “Parosmia has beforehand been reported as a uncommon dysfunction occurring after brain trauma, mind surgical procedure, stroke, viral syndromes, and with some head and neck tumors. We weren’t fully assured that the process would work for parosmia.”

The progressive therapy entails a exact CT-guided injection of anesthetic into the stellate ganglion, situated within the neck, to activate the autonomic nervous system. This fast, non-sedative process has additionally been employed for different circumstances, equivalent to cluster headaches and cardiovascular points.

Key Takeaways:

  • A minimally invasive, 10-minute process might restore the sense of scent in sufferers with lengthy COVID
  • For the research, 54 sufferers have been handled with a stellate ganglion block, which incorporates injecting anesthetic straight into the nerves on one aspect of the neck to stimulate the nervous system
  • After a one-week follow-up, 59% of sufferers reported enchancment in signs

To handle potential nerve irritation brought on by the COVID virus, a small dose of corticosteroid was mixed with the anesthetic. Within the research, 54 sufferers with persistent post-COVID parosmia, unresponsive to different therapies, have been referred by an ear, nose, and throat specialist.

“The preliminary affected person had a tremendously optimistic end result, nearly instantly, with continued enchancment to the purpose of symptom resolution at 4 weeks,” says Professor Zoga. “We have now been shocked at some outcomes, together with close to 100% decision of phantosmia in some sufferers, all through the trial.”

Out of 37 sufferers adopted up, 22 reported symptom enchancment inside per week of the injection, with 18 of these experiencing vital ongoing enchancment after a month. Notably, the process was free from issues or adversarial occasions.

This analysis will likely be introduced on the annual assembly of the Radiology Society of North America (RSNA) in Chicago.

South West Information Service author Isobel Williams contributed to this report.